Australia Day double demerits: What you need to know

Here's what you need to know before hitting the road over the holiday period.

Drivers in certain states are being warned to be extra cautious as double demerits are set to be in force on Australia Day until the proceeding weekend.

Holidaymakers who will be hitting the road are urged to drive safely as high visibility road safety operations run throughout the Australia Day period, which is set to commence at 12.01am on Wednesday 25 January and conclude at 11.59pm on Sunday 29 January in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

NSW Police say double demerits will apply during the period for offences that involve speeding, illegal mobile phone use, not wearing a seatbelt, and riding without a motorcycle helmet.

Traffic and highway patrol officers are also set to be deployed across the metropolitan and regional areas of NSW during the busy time.

NSW police officer enforcing double demerits
Double demerit points will be in place on Australia Day from January 25 to January 29 in NSW and the ACT. Source: Getty/AFP

School zones back in operation

Head of Safety at Transport for NSW Peter Dunphy urged drivers not to be complacent. "Motorists should also remember that school zones are back in force from Friday 27 January, and it is especially important to slow down and take care in school zones at school times – even if you cannot see children near the road," Mr Dunphy said.

The NRMA reminded people that Mobile Phone Detection Cameras are active in NSW and the ACT, and drivers caught using their phones during the double demerit period will be hit with a hefty $352 fine. This penalty goes up to $469 in a school zone and will set a driver back by 10 demerit points.

"Certain driving and parking offences attract an additional demerit point if committed in an operating school zone," the NRMA said.

Western Australia and other states

Although double demerits do apply in Western Australia on some public holidays, this does not apply on Australia Day.

Victoria, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania don't have a double demerit point scheme at any point of the year. Usual penalties and fines will apply on Australia Day.

Queensland applies double demerits all year round for any second offences. Motorists who commit a specific offence such as speeding or illegal mobile phone use and re-offend within 12 months receive double demerits for the second or subsequent offence regardless of what time of the year it is.

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